Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

S&P futures 2014 10 08
Click chart for in-depth premarket data.

Don't panic!

It looks like markets are steadying Wednesday after enduring sharp losses over the previous trading session.

Here are four things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. Calming down: U.S. stock futures are flat, though European markets were pushing further into the red in early trading. The IMF slashed its forecast for eurozone growth Tuesday. Most markets in Asia also declined overnight.

U.S. stocks fell Tuesday, suffering one of their worst days in 2014. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 272 points and both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq tumbled more than 1.5%. October is notorious for some of the worst market crashes in history.

Whether or not we get another one will likely depend on corporate earnings.

2. Expecting earnings: Costco (COST) and Monsanto (MON) report quarterly results before the opening bell. Alcoa (AA) and restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday (RT) will report after the close.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

3. Market movers -- Air France, Yum! Brands: Shares in Air France KLM (AFLYY) fell by more than 2% in Europe after the carrier said that a recent strike by pilots cost the company up to €350 million ($440 million) in the third quarter.

Keep an eye on shares in Yum! Brands (YUM). The parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut slashed its profit expectations. It has been struggling to recover from a tainted meat scandal in China, and the stock is down by just over 15% in three months.

Related: CNNMoney's Tech30

4. Waiting for the Fed: The Federal Reserve is expected to release the minutes from its September meeting at 2 p.m. ET.

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